Jim Caldwell: There’s a lack of appreciation for Matthew Stafford around here

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The Lions are headed back to the playoffs and they could wind up as the NFC North champions if they beat the Packers for the second time this season, but coach Jim Caldwell feels that one member of the team isn’t getting enough credit for his work in lifting the Lions to the top of the standings.

Caldwell’s choice for an undervalued player is quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford is coming off a rocky game against the Bears and his yards per game are down sharply, but he’s also posted his highest completion percentage since 2011 and is posting the lowest full-season interception rate of his career. He’s also thrown for more than 4,000 yards for the fourth straight season while absorbing a career high in sacks, which is among the reasons why Caldwell thinks Stafford deserves more love in Detroit.

“I think there’s a lack of appreciation for him around here, I think, at times,” Caldwell said, via the Detroit Free Press. “Let me just tell you something: He’s a man’s man. He’s a tough guy. He gets hit out there every single ballgame, he hangs in there, and there may be one he’d like to have back, but then there’s a couple others, or one other that’s probably not all his fault.”

The Lions offense hasn’t been as prolific this season as it’s been in past years, although the drop in the productivity of the run game has been much starker than what’s gone on with Stafford and the aerial attack. Wherever things have gone wrong, though, the Lions have found a way to win and that’s something they haven’t been able to do in past years. They need that more than eye-popping numbers from Stafford, although the latter wouldn’t hurt their chances of winning at Lambeau Field this weekend.

33 responses to “Jim Caldwell: There’s a lack of appreciation for Matthew Stafford around here

  1. Its about time a real coach has noticed what all this young man brings to the table year round…he is one of the most talented/passionate players in the NFL and always will be. Hopefully they can continue to build the supporting cast. Merry Christmas 7

  2. I think this season exposed Stafford for what he really is, a big armed QB who has one of the best WR’s to ever play the game that he can just heave the ball up to every other play knowing that he’ll come down with it. We saw this with Culpepper and Randy Moss. Culpepper was an awful, awful QB once Moss was removed. Stafford is just average without a premiere receiver which means he doesn’t deserve much appreciation.

  3. That’s because he’s a #1 overall pick from YEARS ago that has a) yet to win a playoff game b) beat a quality QB on the road and c) learn to throw the ball with ANY consistency. He is the overthrow and rock skipper king!

  4. Well no doubt that limiting turnovers is a huge component to having success. He also has dealt with more sacks than he has ever had to deal with before, and despite that he has kept the INTs down and also his clutch comebacks up. I’m encouraged by some of the improvements we have seen this year and that now we’re in the playoffs, but more importantly than what he has done in the past is that he still has a ton of potential upside still untapped.

    I was kinda expecting that the playoff season is when we would start seeing him at his very best and that would be a fitting time for him to step up to the next level. If he can do that, then this team takes the title.

  5. I think the points have not been there bc of play calling. No need to show it all with our defense especially with inferior opponents. Starting this week when it matters…. Open up the flood gates(I hope).

  6. Stats versus wins. It is a classic. Marino got the stats. Joe got the rings. Who is the greatest (of those two)? Joe Montana. Bradshaw with his rings versus virtually any other QB of his era that played for 6+ years. Who had better stats? The other guy.

    Stafford is switching to winning football. Throw it away or take the sack. Yeah Megatron will come down with 50% of them, but the DB will come down with 10%. That’s losing football.

    Stats are down, wins are up. Not playing from behind as much. No stat padding during prevent defense.

  7. So, in years past he had huge numbers, but none of the wins. So he was criticized. This year, he has stepped back in the numbers, mainly due to the coaching staff teaching him to not force so many throws, but they have the wins. So he gets criticized.

    In the end, he’s faster to 20,000 yards than any other QB in history. His first 70 plus games are identical to the great Peyton Manning and Manning had all the weapons in the world too. Funny, same coach helping him.

    The kid is still only 26 years old. He is playing great. He’ll miss some throws sometimes…happens to all QB’s.

    But when Stafford makes plays with things like side arm passes everybody goes off about how incredible it is, then, those same people will criticize him for the same play when it doesn’t work.

    He’s a good QB and will continue to grow. Look at the other QB’s that everybody claimed were better than him in the same draft class….Where’s Freeman? How about Sanchez? Is he in the playoffs this year despite being on a juggernaut offensive gameplan? Didn’t think so.

    Last night Peyton Manning threw 4 (yes 4) INT’s, one a pick 6 when it mattered. Everybody has bad nights. Stafford has had one bad game in the last 4. He played half the season with a hurt CJ (or without him altogether) and without many offensive weapons and a hurt O-line. And the Lions, yes the Lions, are 11-4 and going to the playoffs because of him and the defense, period.

  8. I personally feel that the Lions have done as good as they have despite Stafford not because of him. He’s got a lot of talent but still makes far too many dumb decisions that cost the team. Their defense has carried them this entire season and I feel that streak of luck is about to change this weekend. I get so tired of hearing about all the yards Stafford passes. For years he’s thrown lots of yards because they were usually coming from behind trying to catch up. Yards alone don’t win games.. tds do. Prior to last week, his stats were almost identical to Jay Cutler yet Cutler sat the bench while Stafford is under appreciated?? seriously? This is his 6th year in the league.. whether he was injured part of that time is not an issue.. it’s still his 6th year. He’s not a rookie and I fell with the weapons he has at his disposal, he should be doing a lot better than he is.

  9. He is what he is. He’ll always put up a ton of yards but along with it 2-3 picks per game. He is another version of Drew Bledsoe

  10. Hey coach? Maybe if he actually wins something he’ll be appreciated. Until then he’s just Cutler in a lions uniform.

  11. We don’t have a problem with his current start streak. I’ve never questioned his manliness. Lol.

    Man or beast, I want him to make plays. Rodger’s manliness has been questioned in the past, but he makes plays.

    So, just make plays.

  12. I don’t remember seeing a quarterback throw a ball maybe 15 yards near the sideline into the ground with a receiver open waiting for the pass to arrive. A lot of his throws are either slightly behind the receiver or leading too much. Called drop passes. I know pressure causes this….but still frustrating. I also truly believe his offense coordinator is the cause of lower scoring. The big clue was in an interview when he was asked what is your go-to play during a game? Every team has a go-to play. He answered….we don’t have one. End of conversation.

  13. The simple problem is, he isn’t Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Peyton Manning. This kid is dang good, but everybody wants to compare him and other QB’s to the greatest. At least 20 teams would take him. And all 20 of those teams would take the above three QB’s over him.

  14. What are you talking about???

    He’s been overly appreciated because he never gets criticized!!!

    Do you see what the hell Cam Newton goes through??

    Do you even see what Carson Palmer has had to go through???

    Ever heard of tony romo??

    Your QB’s habits have been questioned and people gloat about how talented he is almost as if he has no flaws. He almost cost you the Chicago game and might cost you two losses in your next two games.

  15. Reality sets in this weekend for the Lions and the end to their cupcake season is about to set in. Packers will destroy them, hopefully the Lions don’t continue to be dirty.

    The Dirty Suh Stomp is getting played out already, move on Lions, this the NFL, not an inter city public football league!

    Stafford is terrible, just another Cutler!

  16. He is a better leader than Cutler. He has five 4th quarter comebacks this year alone. And he seems to play his best football in the 4th quarter. So he is different from Cutler in a few aspects. Also better with ball security—-see total turnovers between the two. But I agree with other posters about winning meaningful games like this weekend or playoff games. Thats ultimately what qbs have to do to earn respect.

  17. Even with him having a better season than he’s had he’s still only the 20th highest rated passer in QB rating (and that’s out of 32 qualified QB’s).

    That better completion percentage of his? He’s 23rd out of 32 QB’s in completion percentage.

    So, he’s LESS than league average in both of these this season and he’s having a better season for him.

    He’s 15th in yards per attempt and that’s with Megatron.

    Guess whose 16th? That would be a rookie Teddy Bridgewater. Stafford has a 7.20 yards per attempt this year and Teddy is at 7.19.

    Yep, Stafford is just great.

    Stafford is very talented but I think with his talent and having the amazing Calvin Johnson for many seasons he should have better stats than he’s had.

    This is his 6th season in the league so he’s not green and still learning his way yet he’s BELOW the mid-point in QB rating and completion % and middling on yards per attempt with Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate for wideouts.

  18. rl79111 says: Dec 23, 2014 11:12 AM

    Reality sets in this weekend for the Lions and the end to their cupcake season is about to set in. Packers will destroy them, hopefully the Lions don’t continue to be dirty.

    The Dirty Suh Stomp is getting played out already, move on Lions, this the NFL, not an inter city public football league!

    Stafford is terrible, just another Cutler!
    ___________________
    ^^^Bears fan…lol

    It’s so funny watching the hurt little Bears fan suddenly become Packers fans.

  19. Stafford’s caught Cutleritis.

    For the uninitiated:

    Cutleritis = Bad decision-making in NFL games at the QB position causing turnovers, low scoring, and losses despite pro-level talent, physical ability, and arm-strength.

    Prognosis: Unknown, but thought to be incurable.

  20. RomoIsGod says:
    Dec 23, 2014 8:54 AM
    I think this season exposed Stafford for what he really is, a big armed QB who has one of the best WR’s to ever play the game that he can just heave the ball up to every other play knowing that he’ll come down with it. We saw this with Culpepper and Randy Moss. Culpepper was an awful, awful QB once Moss was removed. Stafford is just average without a premiere receiver which means he doesn’t deserve much appreciation.

    stafford played his best games of the year without CJ playing. also coming from ROMOISGOD, you have very little credibility right off the bat. The lions offensive line has been absolutely brutal this year. he would have a hell of a year behind your O-line, Smith is a nasty nasty man. Romo is living the dream in dallas right now and succeeding because of it.

  21. Matthew Stafford has been the most unappreciated player on our team. He brings so much and the fact he leads the NFL with the most 4th qtr combacks (5) this year simply hasn’t been enough for fans. It’s frustrating because as Lions fan i know if we lose Stafford we lose a lot, including any shot at a superbowl and fans need to start giving credit where credit is due. He is in a new Offense this year and still lowered his numbers. We have a great coach and we are winning games. Stafford doesn’t become rattled by a turnover, that is a trait you can’t teach. His receivers have led the league in dropped passes the last 2 years. Maybe its because his cannon but personally as a WR, I was taught that the ball hits you in the hands, you sure as hell catch it. Let us not forget that the quarterback isn’t the only player on the team. It is a TEAM. And this excellent season is in large part to Stafford (although Caldwell I believe should be coach of the year). Maybe if Lions fans embrace our golden goose as we have Calvin we’d see more Brett Farve esque performances out of him. After all he reminds me of Farve more than any QB I’ve seen.

  22. yyyass says:Dec 23, 2014 3:39 PM

    Wait a minute, Jim Caldwell spoke? Like, there are witnesses?

    Caldwell is not only an amazing coach but person as well. I know this personally because when he got the job in Detroit he did something amazing for my family, and he didn’t even know us, just heard our story through the grape vine. There are good reasons he doesn’t speak much. A lot to do with the media. Thank you Jim Caldwell for what you did for absolute strangers and thank you for making it feel good to say I am Lions fan for the first time in my 27 years of life. No longer a feeling of shame.

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